The cooler months are in the arrival process, and I couldn't be happier. Granted, we had an uncharacteristically mild summer, which is an enormous blessing in the often vicious heat of Texas. But nothing reminds me of home - whether the Mid-West or East Coast - quite like the onset of the fall season.
And while most folks anticipate the colors, vistas, scents and such most often associated with this time of year... turning leaves, campfires, woolen blankets, tweeds, cider, etc, etc, etc... my mind turns to one thing.
Winter swimming. Yes, I have mentioned this activity - part daredevil feat, part spectator sport, part spiritual experience, in total a source of sheer delight for those so inclined. A drawing documented earlier, featuring hippocampi flourishing in the icy surf, captured a sense of the adventure - in this case, I created a piece for Zelda Magazine, focused more on a brave Art Deco maiden, exploring the frigid breakers in high style.
Jade, teal, violet, sage, celery, parrot green, bronze, yellow ochre... so many colors are incorporated in the effort of representing the waters of Coney Island in the wintertime - the shade is anything but blue. Rather, the tones of a thriving, healthy ocean rule the season - as one of my dear Polar Bear brothers often states, "The Medicinal Waters of Coney Island". He couldn't be more correct. The saltwater surrounds you, invigorates you, embraces and heals you. Nothing less.
Boots! Many of the Polar Bears, myself included, insist on neoprene boots and gloves - they protect the extremities and associated digits. I'll never forget an ill-considered swim one October day - as it was early in the season, I figured the water would be balmy enough that my hands could easily withstand the temperature. Not so much - my typically graceful hands were temporarily transformed into claws, and it took nearly half an hour to change out of my bikini, and into street clothes. As such, I thought it considerate to let this sensuous creature have an elegant set of boots and gloves, with which to enjoy her swim.
A little close-up of our friend's face, and one of her ravishing gloves. I do own (and wear) a wool suit not unlike this one, though I have not taken a saltwater dip so attired. As a preservationist, I'm a bit too strict to subject such a treasure to the roiling waves - besides, I prefer bikinis, as they let you feel the temperatures all the more. Crazy? Perhaps - but I miss it terribly. I never felt so healthy in all my life, as when I was swimming each week, all winter long, at Coney Island.
To Zelda, of which the upcoming Fall/Winter issue is due very, very soon.